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Dad is My Greatest Teacher

Dad is My Greatest Teacher
    photo by skpy http://www.flickr.com/photos/skippy/

    There are a lot of young guys around the world that don’t get a chance to grow up with a father. And because of that, may lack the knowledge of what “being a man” is. At the same time, there are young men growing up that have a father at their disposal and still don’t get valuable life lessons. It’s a shame.

    Shock

    My father died when I was 18 years old during my senior year at high school. He had a blood clot pass in his lung. I remember the day vividly, being woken up at a friend’s house the night after my band played in some far off place. It was a beautiful, sunny, Sunday morning and I remember seeing my family members’ faces as I walked into the hospital. No one really said anything to me but I could hear from their expressions,

    “Everything will be OK, bud.”

    What happened next is a blur still to this day. I had to deal with the public viewing of my dead father, helping bury him at the funeral, a 21 gun salute, “becoming the man of the house” (or so all my relatives said), and appeasing my weakened mom in the process.

    Lost

    What happened in the next 3 years was something that I choose to describe as being lost. I entered a phase in my life where I was in a semi-touring, semi-serious band and had a terrible outlook on life. I had a problem with everything; from society to myself. I didn’t have any real friends or relationships and just “faked” my way through. I made a ton of terrible decisions, worked a crappy job and was looked down upon by my most of my family because of those terrible decisions.

    It was only until I decided to make a drastic change in my life that I could make up for this lost time. Some people go 20 or 30 years without having a bottom in their lives and one day look back and see the wreckage of their past. Luckily, my bottom was at 21. I’ve come to accept this and liken it to what Robert Frost wrote,

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    “… the best way out is always through.”

    He did his best

      photo by roy_ http://www.flickr.com/photos/roy_/

      After my period of being lost, I got very angry at my father for not being what I thought that he should have been in my life. Why did he never teach me to build a fire? Go camping? Teach me other “manly” stuff that every father teaches their son, right?

      It took me a while to make my way through the five stages of grief. I was at the anger stage.

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      After talking to someone that had some more experience with death, life, and resentments I came to realize this: my father did the best he could with the tools that he had to work with. My dad never laid a hand on me or my mom, was at all of my opening nights at the theater when I was young and in plays, took me fishing (when I wasn’t being stubborn and wanted to go), wanted the absolute best for me and my mom, and later in life, indirectly taught me what it is to be a man.

      And for that, I can overlook the not teaching me “how to build a fire thing”.

      Learning from mistakes

      So, what does this have to do with Father’s Day? Other than this post being something that I needed to write, accepting my father for who he was has enabled me to become the man that I truly want to be because of my learning from his mistakes.

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      Would you touch a hot stove right now? I have a feeling that if you have touched a hot stove in the past and remember the pain of being burnt, you won’t do it. It’s the same idea of learning how to be a man from my father.

      If the old man before me did things that were right, then hopefully I pick up those traits. And if he did things that were wrong, I sure as hell need to learn not to do those things. Learning from my dad’s mistakes has helped me develop my own, upgraded “set of tools” that I can use to do my best in life.

      Teach me

      My dad was one of the greatest teachers I have ever met and he didn’t even try to be or know that he was. There are so many things that I have accomplished since his death that I wish I could share with him. That is the one thing that still chokes me up to this day. But, allowing to let my father live through me, I know that he is with me every step of the way; even when I’m stubborn and don’t want to go fishing.

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      So, on this Father’s Day, make sure that you understand that your dad does the best he can with the tools that he has. It’s not a father’s job to teach you how to build a fire. It’s your job to learn from him, develop your life’s tools to do your best, and live the life that you want to live.

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      Last Updated on December 2, 2018

      How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

      How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

      Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

      The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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      The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

      Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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      Review Your Past Flow

      Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

      Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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      Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

      Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

      Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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      Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

      Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

      We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

      Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

        Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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